I'm all for equal rights for both genders. I'm glad women get to vote just like men, so they can be pandered to by corporate-run politicians and have absolutely no say in how our elected officials govern -- just like men. That's an awesome thing.
But people who think the toys we play with as children actually affect our lives as adults are delusional.
The American Association of University Women, which has been deluding women since 1881, put out its third annual "Holiday Gift Guide for Girls." Sorry, did I say deluding? I meant empowering. Empowering women. Damn that misogynistic autocorrect. That's like the time I typed that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, and it autocorrected it to Administrative Assistant of State.
Each year, the AAUW offers 16 toy ideas that it says are not "highly gendered" and don't promote "stereotyped and objectified images of girls." It should be called, the "Holiday Gift Guide for Girls Who Will Soon Hate Their Parents More Than Usual."
I looked through all three lists, and the one that stuck out to me most was 2013's Computer Engineer Barbie. And they even comment on how their regular readers are probably shocked to see it on the list, because obviously: Barbie is evil. All Mattel did was make a typical Barbie and then add the following accessories: a pink laptop, a pink cellphone and a bedazzled Bluetooth in her in her ear (a Pinktooth would have been better). Then they just magically call her a computer engineer. The real-life accessory they forgot to include was a pink slip, because her job just got outsourced to India.
The AAUW says it's perfect for girls ages 0-3. Yeah, because that's when we start to play with toys that will really have an effect on our future career goals. If only my parents had given me the My Buddy District Attorney, I'd have gone to law school like they wanted.
Everyone needs to stop thinking that Barbie dolls and the like ruin girls' lives, or matter at all. People think Barbie is responsible for promoting an unrealistic idea of body image for young women. That would happen with or without Barbie. That's a larger issue that Barbie has nothing to do with. It's absurd to think she does. Girls' own mothers telling them to focus on losing weight so they can find a husband is worse. That's bad parenting. That's what needs to change.
Listen, I played with toys growing up, too, but I didn't spend the rest of my life feeling inadequate about my lack of mutant ninja skills.
Two of my favorite things as a kid were my toy gun and Big League Chew. And guess what? I didn't grow up to be a cowboy. And I'm from Arizona, so it could have happened. Toy guns were constantly my favorite thing. But as I matured, the real ones didn't appeal to me. And real chewing tobacco didn't appeal to me either.
I played with G.I. Joes, and I never for a second considered joining the military. I had a chemistry set, but I'm not a chemist, nor do I make meth. I mastered Legos, but it still takes me five hours to build a small nightstand from IKEA. I loved my Etch-A-Sketch, but I didn't grow up to waffle on my political beliefs.
Our toys are not as powerful as we would be lead to believe by some. They're just toys. The thing most kids get from their parents that last are abuse, divorce, and, of course, insecurity.
Besides, who even actually thinks Barbie is hot? She's ugly. I never looked at a Barbie doll and thought, "Man, I want to bang something like that." No, she's ghoulish. The hottest things about Barbie are her Mailbu Dreamhouse and that Corvette convertible.
The ironic thing is that the toys girls play with as adults make me feel inadequate. I'd rather compete with a dick-less Ken doll than a 15-inch penis that never goes soft and vibrates.
So let's stop pretending the toys children play with are so future-shaping. Let's stop making Barbie and other "highly-gendered" toys a scapegoat for poor parenting.
George Carlin made a good observation in 1988: "It's a great country, but it's a strange culture ... They're thinking about banning toy guns, and they're gonna keep the fucking real ones!"